A Glimpse Into Design for Social Innovation& Ezio Manzini

This is a diagram I pulled from an online piece written by Ezio Manzini, which to me put everything he talked about into a visual schematic that made sense.

When I heard Ezio Manzini mention “cosmopolitan localism” verbally, it impacted me strongly. Even though I had seen the term, the meaning and impact of it only “clicked” after I heard it. It made me realize that a lot, almost all, of the issues that I care about are centered around this term. As a first-timer, to the concept of cosmopolitan localism and the SLOC framework, I was fascinated. When you think about a community, about the system that exists to sustain, entertain and intensify the community, there is a unique local connectivity and identity in that region that cannot be replicated elsewhere. “Cosmopolitan localism” has its place, in certain cities, with deep connections between the community, the values, and the jobs/companies that sustain the community. It unites the community; it is a system that I can see working better in Europe/in nations where the community has a deeper value and individuals look to belong than to differ.

In the context of any city though, cosmopolitan localism seems to become a more and more important topic to mention and address. It is important to consider for implementation, and I would presume it would work very well in a larger, interconnected city, where companies know another, and there is a pre-existing diverse audience and community. With this term, it is important to consider where, when, and how you are using it because in some contexts it can be highly damaging, since it could never work, and even disrupt.

I agree with Ezio Manzini’s concept of cosmopolitan localism, and the interconnected nature of the system, especially on how important it is to employ it within the right context. When you think of a rural town in the United States and try to fit it into cosmopolitan localism, to me it seems impossible, since that area has very different systems, approaches, and mindsets. In order to target those cities, one would need to come up with a completely new system, that would fit the characteristics of the city and community being. One solution never fits all, no matter how good or well-intentioned it is. The best way to create the best system for a certain or given community is to include everyone in the community, and find a way how to leverage your role and skills in this process.

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Data-driven UX Researcher and Designer! Fascinated by social behaviors and impactful design. I live by a dirty iced chai or a funky tropical drink :)